Ladies, time for a Messi Ronaldo sandwich
Only four days removed from their El Clasico horror show, Real Madrid supporters, officials and team had to be glad for the furor over the World Cup 2018 and 2022 bids to take off a bit of the limelight from them. Well, they would be more glad if Spain had been awarded the World Cup, but I digress … anyway, now football pundits are back, and, well, they want to talk about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and Real Madrid and Barcelona all over again.
On SI.com, the always excellent Sid Lowe examines the endless debate over whether Ronaldo is the “more complete” player than Messi. It’s a wonder people are still having that conversation, the way Barcelona has thrashed Real Madrid in the Pep Guardiola era. Gee, mom, which match highlights Ronaldo’s completeness more, the 5-0 loss at the Nou Camp this year, or Real Madrid’s two losses to Barcelona last year?
It is true that what makes Messi appear so remarkable are his headline skills. He has a ridiculous number of goals — 70 in his last 72 games. He has also out-dribbled Ronaldo this season — completing 50 successful dribbles to the Portuguese’s 30. But it is not about that. It is about the other things. All the other things. It is about the fact that, contrary to the assumptions that Messi is a player who only does the extraordinary, he does the simple things too. Messi, in short, can play. When Ronaldo is no longer an athlete, he will probably not be much of a player. Messi will.
Adding insult to injury in the Ronaldo-Messi/Real Madrid-Barcelona debate is this video, which the average Blaugrana fan will probably enjoy a bit more than Real Madrid supporters. Thanks to Who Ate All The Pies for finding it.
Just for the sake of debate, let’s look at the statistics for both players, since most people seem to avoid that for some reason that we don’t quite understand. Since coming to Madrid, Ronaldo has 40 goals and 12 assists in 41 matches in La Liga and 10 goals and 1 assist in 13 matches outside La Liga. He has also scored four goals in 19 matches for Portugal. Real Madrid have finished runners-up to Barcelona once, fell at the round of 32 in the Copa Del Rey, and lost in the knockout round of the Champions League. Both teams are still alive in the Copa Del Rey and Champions League this year. In three appearances against Barcelona as a member of Real Madrid, Ronaldo has yet to score and Real Madrid have yet to win.
As for Messi, he has 47 goals and 21 assists in 46 games in La Liga the last year and a half. In 26 matches in all other competitions, Messi has 23 goals and 4 assists. The last two years for Argentina, Messi has 5 goals in 20 appearances. Barcelona got to the round of 16 last year in the Copa Del Rey, while winning the Supercopa de Espana, Spanish Supercopa and the Club World Cup. In his three appearances against Real Madrid the last year and a half, Messi has one goal and two assists.
Ronaldo is a great player, no matter how much he preens and postures. His combination of size, speed and technique is virtually unmatched in world football. But if you look at the statistics, at least since he joined Real Madrid, it’s no contest.